Gangs in some of Gothenburg’s suburbs are a bigger problem for the society than Hells Angels and Bandidos, reports Göteborgs-Posten.
It is the sociologist and analyst at the Västra Götaland county police, Maria Wallin, who has studied the construction of territorial gangs in Gothenburg since 2007. She says they can scare whole neighbourhoods into silence and use primary school boys for their activities.
“These are groups who take influence over ordinary people in their neighbourhoods via threats and violence. Contacts with the police are punished. The men easily hide in their neighbourhood and use the residents as a hard to penetrate filter,” said Maria Wallin (cited in Göteborgs-Posten).
The gangs are held together either by family ties or are based on local networks of individuals who grew up together in the same neighbourhood.
The core of the gangs is believed to include about 10 to 15 men, aged around 25. The next level consists of teenagers, and furthest down in the hierarchy are young children.
The youngest boys are recruited to carry out “simpler tasks”, and get to learn that breaking the rules of the gang is more painful than not obeying their parents.
The new gangs need to establish a so called violence capital in order to evoke fear and obedience.
“We see extremely strong violence in these groups, not just against outsiders but within the group as well,” said Maria Wallin (cited in Göteborgs-Posten).
Extensive political decisions concerning education, unemployment, the housing shortage, health and addiction treatment are vital. And even though there are lots of good projects taking place, a more efficient coordination of the different efforts is required, said Maria Wallin (cited in Göteborgs-Posten).